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20130225
20130225
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. >>> this was a bittersweet day at the vatican as pope benedict xvi made his final sunday appearance as the church faced new allegations of wrongdoing. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican for us again tonight. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, lester. today's events, you can see both the strengths and weaknesses of the catholic church, the exuberant energy and faith in the massive crowd gathered here, and the new charges of abuse that continue to haunt this institution. today, the world came to st. peter's square for pope benedict's final sunday blessing. part pep rally. part prayer service. just being in the crowd of 1,000 was a learning experience for these american students. >> that the faith has no national boundaries and political interests. >> reporter: the object of their affection and gratitude, the 85-year-old pontiff. he told the crowd he is not abandoning the church but answering god's call to more prayer and meditation, more appropriate for his age and strength. yet even in this joyful square, the scandals that marked his papacy were on the minds of some. >> i think he has done an
three days left in his papacy, the vatican wanted the spotlight to be on pope benedict. instead the world is seeing the darker side of the church, the in-fighting and scandals that today claimed britain's highest-ranking catholic. for scotland's cardinal o'brien, the end came with astonishing swiftness. today o'brien resigned and said he will not attend the conclave to elect a new pope. the first cardinal in history to stay away, because of a personal scandal. sunday, a british newspaper published accusations by three priests and a former priest that o'brien engaged in inappropriate behavior with them, going back to the 1980s. >> holy father accepted the resignation -- >> reporter: 24 hours later, pope benedict accepted o'brien's resignation as archbishop of saint andrews and he had en boro. >> the catholic church is in quite a bit of turmoil. >> reporter: o'brien denied the claims and said in a statement today, for any failures, i apologize to all whom i've offended. >> the one that handed me over to you -- >> reporter: just last week, o'brien spoke out about the american cardi
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